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Caffeine & Sleep: Timing Matters

Many of us rely on caffeinated drinks to help us get through the day. A morning or afternoon hot coffee, iced coffee, or black tea is often a must-have for many of us. What many people don’t recognize is the effect that these caffeinated drinks can have on your quality of sleep. If you are a CPAP patient, then you may be doing yourself a disservice by drinking too much caffeine at the wrong point in the day.

Staying alert on the road

Truck drivers and many other professions whose performance depends upon their ability to stay alert often choose coffee or a caffeinated soda as their drink of choice. These caffeinated drinks are now readily available at every gas station and fancy coffee shop at just about any rest stop along the highway. The problem comes when it is time to rejuvenate your body through getting a good night’s sleep, avid coffee drinkers often find it hard to relax. Researchers claim that one of the greatest causes of lack of sleep is drinking too many caffeinated drinks during the day.

Are you drinking caffeine at the wrong time of day?

The time you choose to drink your caffeinated drinks matters. A 2013 study published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine stated that caffeine consumed 6 hours before bedtime can disrupt your sleep cycle. In short, it is a lot like drinking the caffeine right before laying down.

The stimulant in caffeine works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a molecule that instructs your brain to relax. Caffeine also affects other chemicals in the body like dopamine. The result is an increase in brain activity.

Your CPAP machine is made to help you get a better quality of sleep. If you suffer from sleep apnea or any other kind of sleep disorder, then the CPAP machine can help you to get the oxygen your body needs to help you feel rested in the morning. However, if you can’t get to sleep at all due to drinking caffeine at the wrong time, then the CPAP machine may not be as effective.

Tips for Managing Your Caffeine Intake

If you want to improve your sleep without getting rid of the caffeine altogether, here are a few tips to get you started.

#1. Stop drinking caffeine by 2 p.m.

Ideally, you should only be drinking caffeinated drinks during the morning hours. However, truck drivers have varied work schedules. Try cutting down your caffeine intake by 2 p.m.

#2. Cut down your caffeine intake as the day progresses.

Enjoy your morning coffee upon waking up. Then drink less as the day progresses. Try drinking tea or decaffeinated coffee instead.

#3 Try anti-caffeine pills.

Anti caffeine pills help your body to metabolize caffeine faster. This means you will be able to get rid of it quickly so that you can rest at night.

What’s important here is to know that caffeine is not necessarily bad for you.  There are even some studies out there reporting that caffeine can reduce the risk of liver disease, type II diabetes and dementia.  The main idea is moderation.  It is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to limit consumption to no more than 300-400 mg per day (less than four 8 oz cups) to feel less sleep-depriving effects while still benefitting from caffeine’s good qualities!

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